Molly McNamee | Does working out make you eat more?
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Does working out make you eat more?

How many of you have said, “I just worked out, so I’ve earned this dessert?”

I am sure many of you have. I probably have at some point in my life. Actually, I am more likely to say I earned an extra cocktail… especially during the holiday season.

Although many people use exercise to justify eating more, is that really how we should be approaching this whole fitness thing? The diet and exercise combination can be confusing. You read one article that says you need to cut calories to lose pounds while another one says if you eat too little you won’t have an effective workout. Who do we listen to?

Well the first question you need to ask yourself is what are your goals?

If you are trying to lose weight, you should NOT purposefully eat more after a workout. Unless you are working out at a high intensity for over an hour, chances are you haven’t burned more than 300 calories. If you are trying to lose weight, this kind of calorie deficit is going to help you reach your goal weight faster. Weight loss is all about calories in versus calories out. Your body burns a significant amount of calories on it’s own, but if you are trying to lose weight, it’s obviously not burning enough on its own. This means you need to end the day with fewer calories in your system than you are currently used to. Using diet AND exercise to create this calorie deficit is going to be extremely helpful.

Although I say this, there is a chance you could eat too little and still not be able to lose weight. This could be happening to you if you find yourself stuck in a weight loss plateau. Read this article I posted about what signs to look for if you think your diet is halting your progress.

Now, maybe your goal is to gain muscle. Ladies, if you are trying to grow your booty, for example, you do need to add in those extra calories. And that does mean you will likely gain weight in the muscle building process. This is something you need to be comfortable with if you plan on starting a muscle-building program, like The Peach Plan. If you are trying to grow, add in a few hundred extra calories to your normal diet.

The second question you should ask yourself is what are your priorities?

If working out is your favorite thing and you want to be able to work really hard everyday and sometimes multiple times a day, you may need to eat a few hundred extra calories… even if you are trying to lose weight. If you don’t plan of exercising 6-7 days a week at a high level of difficulty, you do not need more calories in your daily intake.

It really is that simple. More workouts with a high level of difficulty can make it necessary to eat more calories (regardless of your fitness goals). While a more moderately structured workout program should be paired with less food if weight loss is the goal. If maintaining your weight is your current goal, find a good blend of exercise paired with your maintenance calorie intake.